Interior watchdog says Zinke did not improperly redraw monument's border

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and his aides did not improperly redraw the boundaries of a national monument ...

Posted: Nov 28, 2018 3:27 AM
Updated: Nov 28, 2018 3:27 AM

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and his aides did not improperly redraw the boundaries of a national monument to benefit a Utah state politician, the Interior Department inspector general has concluded.

The department's Inspector General's Office found no evidence linking state Republican Rep. Mike Noel to the redrawing of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument's border, according to a letter from the office summarizing the findings. Public land advocates had alleged the border was gerrymandered to carve out Noel's property and a water pipeline.

Continents and regions

Destinations and attractions

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Grand Staircase-Escalante

Investigations

National parks and monuments

North America

Parks (green spaces)

Points of interest

Political Figures - US

Politics

Ryan Zinke

Southwestern United States

The Americas

United States

US federal government

Utah

White House

Government organizations - US

US Cabinet

US Department of the Interior

US federal departments and agencies

"We found no evidence that Noel influenced the DOI's proposed revisions to the GSENM boundaries, that Zinke or other DOI staff involved in the project were aware of Noel's financial interest in the revised boundaries, or that they gave Noel any preferential treatment in the resulting proposed boundaries," Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall wrote in a letter to Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt that was obtained by CNN. The full report on the investigation is not yet public. The Associated Press first reported the inspector general's conclusion.

President Donald Trump announced last year that he was accepting Zinke's recommendations and would shrink the size of Grand Staircase-Escalante by about 45% and Bears Ears National Monument by more than 80%.

Zinke wrote in a CNN.com op-ed last December that the redrawn boundaries would "protect these objects of historic or scientific interest while ensuring public access to public land."

The Western Values Project, a public land advocacy group that has also opposed other actions by Trump and Zinke, raised concerns in February about the contours of the redrawn boundary. The group alleged Noel was "using his positions of power to benefit himself" and the regional water district he runs "at the expense of public lands."

The group said Zinke and Noel had met at the water district offices a few months before Zinke made his recommendations and that Noel said in 2015 that he had resigned in 1996 from his job with the Federal Bureau of Land Management in protest over President Bill Clinton's decision to create Grand Staircase-Escalante.

"The redrawn boundary, along with photos of Zinke and Noel together, seem to contradict whatever conclusions have been drawn from this leaked summary," Western Values Project's Chris Saeger said Tuesday. He called for the immediate release of the full report.

On Monday, Noel wrote in a Facebook post, "I neither talked to (Secretary) Zinke or anyone in the agency about the monument boundaries associated with my private property, nor did I receive any favorable treatment regarding my property."

A spokeswoman for the Inspector General's Office, Nancy DiPaolo, said she could not discuss the scope of the investigation.

"The OIG opens investigations based on credible allegations and reports our findings objectively and independently," DiPaolo said in a statement.

The inspector general has two open investigations involving Zinke: one into how his department handled a Connecticut casino project and another involving his conversations with Halliburton Chairman David Lesar about a Montana land development project.

Following a referral from the inspector general, the Justice Department is conducting a probe of whether Zinke used his office for personal gain, two sources familiar with the investigation previously told CNN.

West Lafayette
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Kokomo
Few Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 64°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 64°
Williamsport
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 67°
Crawfordsville
Broken Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 66°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 67°
Delphi
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 67°
Monticello
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 67°
Logansport
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 66°
Quiet Conditions After Yesterday's Storms.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 74992

Reported Deaths: 3044
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15963725
Lake7632275
Elkhart488385
Allen3937163
St. Joseph354682
Hamilton2803104
Vanderburgh199713
Hendricks1901108
Cass17969
Johnson1767118
Porter133839
Clark124447
Tippecanoe122111
Madison98765
LaPorte92130
Howard90565
Kosciusko86212
Bartholomew80147
Floyd79146
Marshall79022
Monroe75930
Delaware73852
Dubois70012
Noble68429
Boone68346
Hancock67038
Vigo66810
Jackson5885
Warrick58630
LaGrange55910
Shelby55827
Grant52830
Dearborn50828
Morgan48334
Clinton4403
Henry38520
Wayne37710
White37210
Montgomery35421
Lawrence35027
Harrison34123
Decatur33832
Putnam2908
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25134
Jasper2452
Franklin24314
DeKalb2354
Gibson2284
Jennings22612
Steuben2113
Ripley2087
Carroll1932
Fayette1907
Perry18612
Starke1787
Posey1770
Orange17324
Wells1712
Wabash1703
Fulton1692
Jefferson1652
Knox1590
Whitley1546
Tipton14311
Washington1421
Spencer1363
Sullivan1341
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1234
Newton11810
Adams1022
Jay920
Owen911
Pulaski831
Rush804
Brown741
Fountain742
Blackford652
Ohio655
Benton620
Pike560
Vermillion550
Parke521
Switzerland520
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren231
Unassigned0206

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events